Korean Society – Individual Weakness and Collective Strength

Korea society is based on a very structured and logical set of ancient philosophical precepts which everyone knows from generational indoctrination over centuries, through a common history that is carefully treasured and propagated educationally throughout society, through a rigid system of vertical authority, and through traditions that honor and hold them in place.

Ensuring Social Roles Are Respected

For this reason, the roles that people accept and take on are very standardized, and the social punishment for stepping out of a role is ubiquitously accepted and enacted by everyone in the entire community. There is absolute universal retribution if an actor brings negative attention upon himself or herself from on high. Social ostracism, marginalization, even persecution is designed to come down as a reflex to force a non-conformer to comply with the rigid expectations that society places on them.

These role expectations are codified and logically structured in a way that if the individual bows to them subserviently, the collective benefits from a very peaceful existence. Interesting patterns of both individual and collective phenomenon arise from this very developed method of social structuring.

Individuals are Crushed

Individuals are rendered almost powerless, creativity is crushed, personal initiative is discouraged and feared, personal responsibility is a socially defined matter, not one of individual pride and character. It is quite uncomfortable for young and lower level operatives while at the same time, older people and titled people have to guard against the tendency to be pig headed bullies. I have seen some who succeed and some who don’t.

Collective Power

Collectively however, there are few societies as powerful as Korean society at large. If a plan exists, the Korean functionaries unquestionably, powerfully follow that plan until it is beaten into the Earth. They are in irresistible force in a militaristic, ant colony kind of way.

Positives and negatives arise from these interesting characteristics. If there is a good, well thought out plan, Korean people will absolutely dominate over any other peoples. Also, if there is a disaster, they will take care of each other instead of looting and killing each other. You can see other positive potentials by following out the implications of these examples yourself.

If the Plan is Bad

Negatives are the individual discomforts that people feel struggling under often unfair and illogical, inefficient plans. Koreans are not good at making plans, and if a plan is in place but poorly conceived, no one is likely to recognize, interrupt, or modify it. It will keep going until something catastrophic breaks, and then no one knows exactly what happened or what to do.

But the codified ethical rules and the Korean precepts of tit for tat, along with Buddhist traditions of compassion and human kindness make Korea a great place to visit and to live, as long as you don’t start to want acceptance deeply into their society. That will not happen any time soon. There are simply too many, and too powerfully entrenched philosophical, historical, social and cultural preventatives in place.


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